Sunday, November 10, 2013

2013 Coffeeneuring Challenge: Coffeeneuring for Couples


This fall, Heather and I signed up for Mary G.’s Coffeeneuring  Challenge.  The Challenge grows out of the idea that its October and the serious bike riding for the season should be over. Now is the time to kick back and enjoy the pace of fall.  To complete the challenge, riders must ride their bikes to 7 different coffee shops in 7 weekends. The total ride must be at least 2 miles.  Our adventure has some unique challenges. First, Black River Falls has only 2 real coffee shops.  This problem is easily fixable as any place that sells coffee qualifies as a coffee shop.  Second,  almost every place in town that sells coffee is within one mile of our house. We’ll have to take some roundabout paths for our coffee.

Comparing our coffeeneuring outings with reports submitted by other  coffeeneurs, it seems like our coffeeneuring outings were much less focused on bike riding and much more centered on making time for a short, family or couple oriented outings. Over the last few years, I have ridden thousands of miles and participated in dozens of events. The Coffeeneuring Challenge is a chance to slow down and spend some time with Heather (and the girls, when we could talk them into coming along).

 All in all, we had a great experience. We completed the challenge and had 7 great "dates". We made it to 3 real coffee shops, a gas station, our favorite corner grocery store, our downtown café, and a fast food restaurant. Definitely not the typical coffeeneuring experience.

RIDE  1: October 13
3.5 miles.
Cenex/Four Seasons Convenience Store.

On this beautiful fall day, we rode a total of 3.5 miles to the Cenex station for our first run of the Coffeeneuring Challenge. The temps were in the low 40’s and the sun was shining brightly.  The Cenex station is your run-of-the mill randonneur control stop so the start of Coffeeneuring had a similar feel to the end of randonneuring.  The ambience was where the similarities ended, however. Rather than rushing through a control stop, Heather and I had time to sit down and have a long discussion about the upcoming week. I had a cup of classic black coffee. Heather had a French Vanilla with cream.


RIDE 2: October 19
3.9 miles
Alwood’s West Side Grocery

Heather and I took advantage of another beautiful fall day to ride 3.9 miles around the outskirts of BRF culminating in a stop at Alwood’s for a leisurely cup of coffee. Heather had a cup of French Vanilla while I stuck with the classic black. Our coffee stops may not measure up to the hotspots in Portland or Seattle but I bet we spent less for our coffee than most other coffeeneurs. We totaled out at $1.50.  As an added benefit, Gary, one of the owner’s of Alwood’s, and Paul were holding court and kept everyone laughing.


RIDE 3: October 20
2.3 miles

For ride 3 of our Coffeeneuring Challenge, Heather and I decided to ride to Hardee’s for a breakfast muffin and regular, old black coffee. Unlike the first two rides, the weather was a little iffy. Cold and Grey, the feel of winter was definitely in the air. The temperature was in the low 30’s and the ride home was in a steady sleet shower. Not exactly great biking weather, but certainly passable for a 2ish mile ride for coffee.


RIDE  4:  October 26
2.0 miles
Molly’s Rude Awakening

On a cloudy, blustery fall day, Heather and I decided on an afternoon visit to Molly’s Rude Awakening. Molly’s is a quirky coffee shop, wine bar and funk store. We even convinced our 8 year old daughter, Bailey, to join us. 



I enjoyed a cappuccino, Heather had her normal French Vanilla and Baily had a hot chocolate. On the way home Bailey even taught some new bike riding techniques. Lots of fun.



RIDE 5: November 2
2 miles
Country Café

For  our fifth ride of the Coffeeneuring Challenge, we rode downtown to the Country Café for coffee and breakfast. Bailey and Maddie joined us, with limited enthusiasm.  The Country Café is your typical, small town café so of course the coffee options were pretty much limited to black or cream and sugar. Both Heather and I stuck with the black.  We also dove in with full, oversized country breakfasts and rode home fully stuffed.


RIDE  6: November 3
5.5 miles
Mocha Mouse

For ride 6 of the Coffeeneuring Challenge, Heather and I picked the Mocha Mouse, a quirky blended coffee shop, wine and cheese store, restaurant and general freeway convenience store.  The ride through town was sunny but uphill into a steady, late fall wind. We each ordered a latte with a shot of vanilla. As a bonus, we each ordered a cup of the house specialty—beer cheese soup. All in all a relaxing and filling coffeeneuring stop.


RDE  7: November  9
Coho Café and Bakery, Tofte, MN
2.4 miles


For our final ride of the Coffeeneuring Challenge, Heather and I took some time out of our couples get-away weekend to do a short installment. We travelled to the Bluefin Resort on the North Shore of Lake Superior with another couple. Fortunately, the Bluefin property featured a combination coffee shop bakery and the resort had complimentary bike rentals. Late on Saturday afternoon, Heather and I walked over to the resort’s recreation center and signed out a couple of Trek Navigators. Although I have never ridden a bike quite like this, the fat tires, wide seats and partial suspension were perfect for a coffeeneuring run.
We rode a mile and a quarter up the paved Gitchi-Gami trail along the shore of Lake Superior in the late afternoon light. The temperature was a brisk 34 degrees.  As a special bonus, the sun came out for a few minutes during our ride to give us some beautiful views of the lake through the birch trees. On our way back to Bluefin, we stopped off at the Coho Café and Bakery. I enjoyed a cup of black coffee and Heather had a latte. We also shared a delicious cinnamon roll.

That's all for this year. Can't wait to Coffeeneur again next year.

1 comment:

  1. One thing that's great about reading the coffeeneuring posts is the variety. Nice take on coffeeneuring - you guys really made it your own. Also, gas station coffee photos remind me of randonneuring / bike touring stops.